Sunday, April 15, 2012

Here's the cover of my new collection of poems expected shortly from AuthorsPress, New Delhi:

Reviewed  by Dr S L Peeran:

New and Selected Poems Tanka and Haiku by Ram Krishna Singh. Published by AuthorsPress, Q-2A,Hauz Khas Enclave, New Delhi 110016. 96 pages, Price Rs 150/- ISBN 978 81 7273 635 4

R K Singh has emerged with a new voice in this collection of poems like a caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly. No longer the poet numbers his poems. He has captioned all the poems and there is new vigor, new realization and poems are pensive with deep introspection sans eroticism, which had been the common feature in the other works of the poet. There is depth in the emotional expression in the present collection.

   In the preface the poet reflects on his new expression thus:

           “Genuine poetry happens as an event to be truthful, clear, courageous and honest to oneself; to be open about things one often tries to conceal. Poetry provides an opportunity for expressing one’s intimate moments with the same passion as while talking about the interwoven out realities.

             I also view it as the expression of cosmic, organic, erotic life, creating its own forms, expressing itself and in being expressed, finds its voice.”

    There are 53 captioned and titled poems with a collection of 41 Tanka and 39 Haiku in the book.

     Poetry is an incantation of the soul, celebration of the abiding varieties of our human existence. It mirrors a perception of to world peculiar to each poet.

     If   life is a celebration, we are known and we leave our footprints on the sands of time and our progeny and history records the deeds of man. But for the poet in the introductory poem “Death”, he is pessimistic

                            “as stranger we come
                              as stranger
                              we pass

                              like withered grass
                               unmourned, unknown”

      For the poet in the poem “Libyrinths”

                           “life still awaits intrigues
                            Through meandering pathways”

      Yet the poet is hopeful to find light in the end of the tunnel with
                            “the guarding angel
                             leads me to golden award.”

         There are several poems with well chiseled imagery and depth of thought. The poet’s self expression of his painful soul’s sufferings is evident in many poems like ‘Smoke’, ‘midnight cry’, ‘Revelations’ and in many more poems.

         Time passes, age withers, customs stale and self realization dawns. The poet muses:

                              “wheeze December
                                In lonely drizzles:
                                Sun’s last glow

                                 measure wisdom
                                 to unknown, now lower gaze
                                 and look within”

           The poet’s declining passion is evident in the poem “Liberation”

                                 “I still wander my mind with fire
                                   but no heat or light, sterile emotion
                                   routs the spirit to live  making
                                   all presences dark and absence”

            There are several poems resonating this thought of dying embers.

            In the poem “Rotten Rat”, the poet quotes Berlolt Brecht:

                                  “Man is an animal
                                    With peculiar smell.”

             And then the poet probably refers to a politician and compares him to a “rotten rat/as he waves his khaddar arms/with fake smile”

              In the poem ‘Valley of Self’, the poet has arrived at self realization that the ordeals are his “alone in the valley of self” and that he “must learn to clear the clouds soaring high or low.” The poet expresses despair at not knowing which Psalms to sing or know the god or goddess or mantra to chant “when fear overtakes/ my being and makes me suffer.”

             The same thought reverberates in several poems like “Wisdom,” “Helplessness” “Elements clack” and in several others.

             “Its More Voluptuous to Float” is full of imagery and is a metaphysical poem with an erotic line.

             It is not east to perceive God and His ways. In the poem “Eyeless Jagannath,” the poet expresses this thought:

                         “the wings of my thought
                          Are too short to climb God’s height
                          Or blue deeps of peace.”

           Tanka and Haiku writing is an art. R K Singh has excelled in this art form having won laurels and awards. But he has not stuck to the Japanese format of 5,7,5,7,7. in Tanka and 5,7,5. syllables in Haiku but has experimented with his own syllabic format.

          Most of the Tanka are sensual and erotic but Haiku has indeed nature element, which is one of the requirement of a Haiku. To quote one or two:

                         Shadows waver
                         in the dewy grass--

                         flower beds
                          purple pulsatilla
                          winter’s end
            On the whole, the collection of New and Selected Poems Tanka and Haiku is another wonderful feather in the works of the poet.

 --  Dr S.L.Peeran, Bangalore. Email: